Did you know that sleep problems often come with having Tourette?
Have you ever wondered why?
A recent journal article tried to answer this question by looking at existing research. Here are some important points from the article:
- Insufficient or disturbed sleep can result in learning problems, stressful/emotional problems, inattention
- 25-30% of people with TS told their doctors they had sleep challenges; this rate increased for those with Tourette and additional associated conditions
- Having ADHD and Tourette puts a person at a very high risk or great chance of having sleep issues
- Sleep issues experienced by people with Tourette include: difficulty falling or staying asleep, separation anxiety in the evening, sleep walking, and/or tics or other movements during sleep
- Most likely, people with TS continue to tic while sleeping, though more research is needed to confirm this fully
- The clinical significance of tics during sleep or the health consequences of tics during sleep are not very well understood or researched
- A lot of studies on this topic have mixed rather than consistent results
What can you do if you have sleep problems associated with TS?
- Talk to your doctor about it
- Think about choosing a blanket, pillow, mattress and sleep position that works best for you. For example, weighted blankets or vest may be preferred by a child with sensory challenges.
- Try to incorporate physical activity into your day.
- Consider using a white-noise machine to mask bothersome sounds.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible – wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends
- Have wind-down time to help you or your child relax prior to bedtime (e.g., soft music, read a book, familiar toys or blankets)
- Avoid caffeine before bed
- If you are a parent, try to take care of your sleep too (you may need additional assistance for this)
- Recognize that you are trying your best and don’t be too hard on yourself
Are these tips helpful?
What do you do for your sleep problems?
Jan, James et al. “Sleep Hygiene for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities”. Pedatrics 122, 1243, 2008.